A happy homecoming for Capital’s Geroski

On this particular evening, St. Wendelin graduate Cookie Geroski didn’t have her shot going. She was only 2 of 8 from the floor in Capital’s game at Heidelberg Wednesday night.

No matter. The junior guard found other ways to help the Crusaders to a 76-61 win.

Geroski had four points, a team-best eight rebounds, two assists and two steals as Capital improved to 13-5, 8-3 in the Ohio Athletic Conference.

“Cookie does more than just score,” said Capital coach Dixie Jeffers. “Cookie can shoot it, but she also does just so many things. She takes care of the basketball, gets us in our offense, goes to the boards and rebounds. She’s just a smart player.”

It was something of a homecoming game for Geroski, a Fostoria native who had a large cheering section at Seiberling Gymnasium.

“It’s a thrill,” Geroski said. “Every time I come here, I never know who I’m going to see, so it’s like a surprise for me almost. It’s nice to go back home and know that all these people will come and support me.”

For a time in the first half, it looked like those Capital fans were in for a disappointment. Heidelberg started shooting the ball well, and jumped out to a 17-10 lead after a Jordan Ickes jumper with 13:06 left in the half.

“Coach came at us and said we need to pick it up,” Geroski said. “At the beginning we didn’t really communicate that well, and after that timeout, we came out together and just started talking, getting more aggressive and just getting at it.”

Capital went on a 6-0 run to cut the Student Princes’ lead to one, then took a 21-20 lead when Kristen Thompson converted a three-point play with 7:41 left in the half.

Heidelberg’s Erin Sims answered with a 3-pointer to put HU up 23-21, but the Crusaders responded with nine unanswered points to go up 30-23.

“Not that we had them on the ropes, because … we played like five, six minutes of basketball. There’s so much more to play,” Heidelberg coach Marcie Alberts said. “But, when you give a team that’s struggling chances to get back into the game by making layups, that’s a lot easier than forcing them to take jumpers or contested shots, and we didn’t do that. We didn’t do that throughout the game.”

Capital’s top scorer was Stacy Timmerman, who made 10 of 15 baskets for 20 points to go with six rebounds.

“Timmerman’s been hot. The last two weeks she’s had 29 [points], 20, and I don’t know what she had today,” Jeffers said minutes after the win. “She’s very, very hot and she’s a go-to player.”

Capital led 36-29 at the break, but Heidelberg battled back to make it close. As usual, the Student Princes were led – as usual – by Kathleen Phillips, who had 18 points. Phillips’ jumper with 9:12 left in regulation cut the Crusaders’ lead to 55-51. But less than a minute later, Phillips was called for her fourth foul and was on the bench for the next several minutes.

With HU’s top threat off the court, Capital extended its lead, scoring the game’s next five points. A Geroski layup put Capital up 60-51 with seven and a half minutes left.

Alberts said her defense really struggled Wednesday night.

“We go from Mount Union [Saturday] who shoots 34 3’s against us in our zone, to (Capital), who picked it apart and got layups out of it,” she said. “Again, a lot of them were in transition, but you can’t do that. You can’t beat teams giving up that many layups.”

Many of Capital’s transition opportunities came off HU turnovers. Heidelberg had 22 miscues, while the Crusaders had 13.

“Twenty-two, in the broad scheme of it you don’t look at it and say that’s a ton of turnovers,” Alberts said. “But (Capital) had 17 steals. That means that 17 of our turnovers, we gave it to them to go down and get conversions.”

Jeffers said her defense executed.

“Our defense is our trademark; it always has been our trademark,” she said. “We’re getting better and better at playing what we’re doing, and we’re peaking at the right time.”

Jamie Caton had 18 points, six assists and five rebounds for the Crusaders, while Rebekah Will had eight points and seven rebounds.

Geroski said she thinks Capital can be a factor in the OAC, which includes nationally-ranked Ohio Northern and Mount Union.

“We should be right up there,” she said. “Our team is all about one another. It’s not a one-person or two-person team. If one person’s off, everyone needs to fight back in and pick everyone up. I think we’re at the top with everyone else – Mount Union, Ohio Northern. We just need to believe in it, believe in ourselves.”

Heidelberg (5-13, 1-10) got eight points from Columbian graduate Megan Miller, and seven points each from Jordan Ickes and Page Ricketts. Ricketts also had nine rebounds.

The Student Princes shot 22 of 60 from the floor, but just 4 of 20 from 3-point range.

“We’re 4 out of 20 from 3, we’re 18 out of 40 from two,” Alberts said. “You tell me what’s the better shot.”